So, is peanut a vegetable or a fruit? If you think you know the answer then good for you.
Safe to say you’re a true peanut fan if you’re really that sure. I guess I can also assume that you know that peanuts aren’t even nuts in the first place, right?
Or did I make this even more confusing for you?
Peanuts are just one of those basic foods that you think you really know but turns out to be a bit trickier than expected. Then you end up second-guessing everything you know about it. And later, even question the most basic knowledge you know about your fruits and vegetables.
Like this, for example, you think you’d know what differentiates a vegetable from a fruit. I mean it’s pretty simple, right? Apples, oranges, grapes—these are fruits, obviously. And lettuce, cabbage, and spinach are definitely vegetables.
But then there’s the eggplant which you may think is a vegetable but is actually a fruit. And rhubarb that appears as a fruit—due to its sweetness—but is technically a vegetable.
Everything’s a lie!
Let’s backtrack a bit and get to our main question before we spiral even more. Is peanut a vegetable or a fruit?
For those who chose the latter one, you guessed wrong!
Peanut is actually a vegetable and not a fruit.
Now that we cleared that one out, let’s talk more about peanuts! I promise I’ll explain why they’re vegetables down below.
Why Are Peanuts Considered As A Vegetable And Not A Fruit?
Okay, here’s why. Just like what I’ve said earlier, peanuts aren’t nuts. Though they sure do look like one. And don’t worry, you’re not the first person who mistook them as such. After all, most people don’t know that peanut is, in fact, a legume.
If you’re not familiar with the legume family, think green beans, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas. Plants belonging to the legume family produce a pod with seeds inside. And the term “legume” is what you call the seeds of these plants.
I know it’s easier to picture peanuts belonging with pecans, pistachios or walnuts since peanuts share some of the physical qualities of these nuts—Just like the hard shell they all seem to have.
But in the case of peanuts, the ‘hard shell’ is actually a brittle pod. Pods that all legumes have. The only obvious difference between the peanuts’ pods from other legumes’ is that you don’t eat the brittle pod of peanuts—unlike what you’ll do with the soft and edible pods of green beans.
And since peanuts are not considered nuts, they’re not considered as fruits as well!
See, according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines; “A nut is a simple dry fruit with one or two seeds in which the ovary wall becomes very hard (stony or woody) at maturity, and where the seed remains attached or fused with the ovary wall.
Which, as I’ve clarified earlier, isn’t the case with peanuts. And officially cuts them from falling under the fruit category.
What’s The Difference Between Fruits And Vegetables?
So, I guess you’re starting to question your food basics by now. But don’t worry it isn’t as complicated as it seems to be.
First of all, there are two perspectives that you need to see when you’re trying to figure out whether something is a fruit or a vegetable.
Choose between looking at it from a botanical standpoint or from a culinary perspective.
Looking At It Botanically
Botanically speaking, a vegetable is considered to come from various parts of a plant. This includes seeds, roots, tubers, shoots, stems, flowers and leaves.
We can group these vegetables into different classifications according to the certain nutrients they can provide. The main vegetable groups are the following: (1) Dark Green or Cruciferous (also known as Brassica); (2) Root/Tubular/Bulb Vegetables; and (3) Legumes/Beans.
A fruit, on the other hand, is something that develops from the flower of the plant. The fruits that will grow over time will contain their own seeds.
Simple, right? You can easily tell that apples, mangoes, and oranges are fruits while carrots, celery, and Brussel sprouts are vegetables. The qualities between the two sets are so different from each other that classifying them is such a ridiculously easy task.
From A Culinary Perspective
While the botanical standpoint focuses on the technicalities, the culinary perspective focuses on the taste.
Simply put, when something is sweet or tart they are under the fruit category. Fruits are generally something that you can incorporate in various forms of desserts or snacks. Additionally, fruits are the ones you usually want in refreshing juices, shakes, and smoothies.
If fruits are for desserts, vegetables are for the main dishes. They’re part or even the center of the meal. Unlike the sweetness and tartness of fruits, vegetables are all about the savory taste.
This makes certain foods tricky to classify. Tomatoes are the most popular example when it comes to this since people generally classify them as a vegetable but they’re actually a form of fruit.
Botanically, tomatoes do come from a ripened flower ovary and do contain seeds which makes them technically a fruit. But nutritionists, gardeners, and the general public consider them as vegetables since you mainly use them in savory meals.
It’s all about the taste.
Fruits And Vegetables Masquerading As Each Other
Now that you know the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, as well as the possibility of certain foods to be both at the same time, why not look at the list below of fruits and vegetables often mistaken for each other?
Some of them will surprise you. (Most of your favorite veggies are technically fruits!)
And as expected, there are indeed many fruits that are mistaken for vegetables. However, the number of vegetables that are considered as fruits is visibly low in comparison.
It’s not that people explicitly mistake these vegetables as fruits, but more like treat them as such. So instead of savory dishes, they are more likely to be used in making desserts. It goes to follow that these vegetables are naturally sweeter than your average veggies.
Check out the tricky fruits and veggies below!
Some examples of fruits that are commonly mistaken for vegetables:
- Winter Squash
Some examples of naturally sweet vegetables you can turn into desserts:
- Sweet Potato
- Corn or Maize
Fast Facts On Peanuts
Ever wonder why people just go nuts for peanuts? Here are some nutty bite-sized chunks of interesting facts you might want to know about everyone’s favorite goober. Is it worth the hype, let’s find out!
I know some questions popped in your head while reading this article so check some of the things I’ve prepared down below.
Are peanuts healthy for you? Yup!
There’s a reason why peanuts are a popular healthy snack. Not only do these goobers taste delicious (and sometimes addicting), but they’re also packed with nutrients that come with various health benefits.
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are high in plant-based protein like arachin and conarachin.
They’re also high in the healthy type of fat—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids found in peanuts are an important part of your everyday diet.
There are also studies that show that peanuts may reduce the risk of heart disease as well as being a useful food for weight loss.
Can I grow my own peanuts at home? Yup! And it’s super easy too!
Peanuts are one of the plants that you can try growing at home even if you’re just new to gardening. This warm-weather vegetable only needs 120 days to reach harvest. It’s easy to plant and requires very minimal plant care after.
Full sun, healthy soil and frost-free days and you’re good to go!
How many peanuts do I need to make one jar of peanut butter? Over 500, apparently.
If you’re planning to make your own peanut butter at home I suggest you stock up on peanuts fast. You’ll be needing about 540 peanuts for 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. That’s 45 peanuts give or take in every ounce of peanut butter.
And for a legit peanut butter, your recipe should be made up of 90 % peanuts.
Is there something one can do to prevent or reduce the likelihood of peanut allergy? Yes, but they need to do it while they’re younger.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study conducted by researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States stating that the early introduction of peanuts highly reduced the prevalence of peanut allergies.
This most likely explains why there is a very low rate of peanut allergies in countries where peanuts are a popular snack like in Israel, Turkey, and Kenya.
Do peanuts cause acne? Contrary to popular belief, not really.
When it comes to acne, there’s usually a multitude of problems that can cause it. You can’t exactly pinpoint it to one element—like peanuts. Although people generally assume this since peanuts contain androgen. It’s connected to increased sebum production in the skin.
However, just like with every food, you need to eat them in moderation. Peanuts aren’t inherently evil. You won’t get sudden acne by snacking on a couple of them. In the end, your overall diet can make or break your acne problem.